With Gratitude, Getting Through 2020

2020 is finally near an end. I'm filled with gratitude that I'm able to write my end-of-year appreciation letter to you all because it means my small business is still here, and we are okay, which I don't take for granted.

But we didn't come out completely unscathed. I closed the brick and mortar store we opened only just last year. After two government ordered shutdowns due to the worsening pandemic, I packed up everything with my husband's help mere months after having a c-section and said goodbye to our store, a space I thought we would be in for a long time. Small businesses like mine were shuttering left and right as the weeks slipped by. Fortunately, your support online carried us through this year and from a business standpoint, I was very lucky that my store lease was a one-year try-out so I had the opportunity to leave with no strings attached when it was up in July. I closed the store to ensure that I could sustain Mien through a pandemic. It was heartbreaking but the right decision for us and we'll find another home in the near future.

On a personal note, I gave birth to a healthy baby girl in April. Although it was worrisome at times since it was early in the pandemic and much was unknown, the joy of finally having our rainbow baby in our lives helped us through the stressful year. Everyone will have stories of this unprecedented year that we've all endured. I'm forever a changed person and understand even more now that anything can happen within our lifetime, including a once in a century pandemic. Now, we find joy in the little, simple things. Working from home and homeschooling is a challenge but it's also comforting to have our small family together, mess and all. 

I'm also fortunate that my most cherished friendships and even professional relationships, such as our wonderful factory partners and suppliers, have endured and even strengthened through this pandemic. With Mien, some of our most loyal and supportive customers really came through for us. Without in-person market shows and our retail store, you placed orders online instead and wore Mien through all the work-from-home days, pregnancy, parenting, and all those other moments in between. You tagged us on social media, advocated for shopping small during the holidays, shared our work with friends and family and one order at a time, it made a tremendous difference. There is little help for tiny businesses like mine. There is no bail-out or an infusion of government grants to keep independent brands afloat - it's you, our customers, who is our lifeline. 

So thank you again, now more than ever before. I'm incredibly grateful that Mien is still here and I'll be welcoming the New Year with you. I tried to keep it short but wanted you to know that behind this small business, and really many other small businesses, is another human being, grateful for your support. I wish you and those you love a safe, healthy, peaceful, and joyful 2021. Hopefully we can see each other - in person - next year.